Skip to main content

Australia ends Sri Lankan asylum seekers freeze

By the CNN Wire Staff
Sri Lankan asylum seekers aboard an Australian Customs and Immigration Fisheries Patrol vessel.
Sri Lankan asylum seekers aboard an Australian Customs and Immigration Fisheries Patrol vessel.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Freeze on Afghan asylum seekers stay in place pending review
  • Gillard proposes a regional processing center for asylum seekers
  • She says she has already consulted with East Timor and New Zealand leaders
RELATED TOPICS

(CNN) -- Australia's new prime minister is ending a three-month freeze on processing Sri Lankan asylum seekers.

Julia Gillard said in a speech Tuesday that a freeze on Afghan asylum seekers will remain in place pending a review by her government.

The prime minister said she is taking steps to create a regional processing center where asylum seekers will be fairly and equally assessed.

She said she has already begin discussions about the plan with East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

"I am also making the government's policy goal clear," she said. "It is to wreck the people-smuggling trade by removing the incentive for boats to leave their port of origin in the first place; to remove both the profitability of the trade and the danger of the voyage."